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FWPA rejects greenwashing claims

Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has rejected ‘greenwashing’ claims that its Wood. Naturally Better™ print advertising campaign is flawed.

FWPA had received a request from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for verification of environmental claims in response to a complaint. According to the ACCC the complainant primarily concerned the claim of carbon positivity made in the advertising campaign.

Ric Sinclair, managing director of FWPA said the complaint didn’t come as a surprise.

Although the ACCC did not notify FWPA of the identity of complainant, the Wilderness Society outed itself as the organisation behind the complaint in a recent article in a major newspaper and claimed it was supported by the Environmental Defenders Office.

According to the newspaper article, the Wilderness Society rejected that carbon dioxide stored in trees was locked up when logged and converted to wood products, and also rejected that forestry was one of Australia’s most greenhouse-friendly industries.

“From the very beginning, we anticipated some fundamentalist green groups would try to challenge our industry’s right to promote its environmental credentials,” he said.

“FWPA has a strong science focus and there is plenty of supporting evidence for the important role that wood products can play in a carbon-constrained economy.”

He said that all statements made within the advertisements were closely scrutinised to ensure they complied with the ACCC’s guidelines on green marketing (or greenwashing).

And he said FWPA welcomed the ACCC’s role in monitoring green claims in advertisements.
“We will work proactively with the ACCC to address the issues that have been raised,” said Sinclair.

“I am confident that we can work with the ACCC to independently verify the positive role that the forest and wood products industry plays in helping mitigate climate change.

”The statement that wood products store carbon is a statement of fact and it is unfortunate that some fundamentalist green groups like the Wilderness Society don’t acknowledge this reality and support the role that wood products can play in storing carbon.

“By embracing the widely accepted science and facts around the benefits of wood products we could all work together to better mitigate against climate change,” Sinclair said.
FWPA is an industry services company whose work within the forest and wood industries includes investment in innovative research and development with the main aim of improving the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry.